A thermocooker or thermal cooker is a cordless, non-electric, portable pot that looks like a crockpot. Thermal cookers feature a small pot inside a thermal outer pot that insulates the smaller unit, preventing heat loss. You’ll encounter different types of thermal cookers characterized by size, material, and accessories.
3 Different Kinds of Thermocookers
Thermal cooking pots, also known as vacuum pots, are made up of an insulated outer pot and stainless steel inner pot. All variants feature the two primary components in different sizes and materials. Food is placed in the inner pot and brought to a boil using the stove. The hot pot is then transferred to the outer pot and sealed to retain the heat and continue cooking. Here’s an overview of the three types of thermal cooking pots:
1. Stainless Steel Thermal Cookers
The stainless steel thermocooker is the most popular type in nearly all kitchen appliance stores. Stainless steel thermal cooking pots are precisely what the name suggests: made of stainless steel. You’ll encounter two different options— foam units and vacuum-sealed units. Both foam and vacuum-sealed stainless steel thermal cookers feature two quality inner pots. One pot nestles inside the other, and both feature quality stainless steel.
Such variants are also referred to as two-pot thermal cookers. They increase the cooker’s versatility, allowing you to prepare and serve two dishes simultaneously. You can also use the large pot in isolation when preparing a big pot of food. Foam units use a foam insulator between the pot walls to prevent the heat from escaping the pot. Vacuum-sealed thermal cookers use vacuum space between the pot walls instead of an insulating material like foam.
2. Wonder Box Thermal Cooker
A wonder box, wonder bag, or wonder oven is a fabric thermal cooker you can use to slow cook different food items. The wonder box is more like a bean bag for the pot but works like standard stainless steel units. Wonder box cookers suit indoor use, but you can use a basket to bring them wherever you go. You can cook a meal in the morning and put it in the box, and the food will still be hot and ready for eating when you return in the evening!
Wonder box thermal cookers can work with different pots and dishes. They feature a string around the top, which you can cinch tightly. Most units use foam, but you’ll find options featuring other materials, mainly fabrics and pillows. Wonder ovens may also feature polyurethane beads, wood chips, or other fillers that don’t conduct heat. Wonder box cookers tend to be bulkier.
3. DIY Thermal Cookers
Thermal cooking is more about the art/technique than the equipment. People used thermal cooking for years before the first standard stainless steel pot was invented. You can make a thermal cooker using items readily available around your home. A good example is using a Dutch oven and ground as your insulator. You can also use food jars and insulated flasks wrapped with a blanket and placed in an esky.
DIY thermal cookers may make sense if you live alone or need a one-time service. The ovens aren’t nearly as effective as your store-bought thermal cookers. If you want something you can bring to a camping trip, go for a quality insulated or vacuum-sealed thermal cooker. DIY options are fun ideas you can use at home to explore more about thermal cooking, but they won’t replace the efficiency of your standard stainless steel thermocooker.
Buying a Thermocooker
If you’re shopping for a thermal cooking pot, brace yourself for a wide range of options. You’ll encounter many brands and models, each advertised with unique features. When looking for a thermal cooking pot, size, type, and price are among the top things to review. Some people prefer units with two small pots, perfect for cooking different dishes simultaneously. Others fancy a single large pot to prepare more food for the family during outdoor trips.
You can also find pots with ergonomic handles, added controls, temperature displays, and timers. Prices are different depending on the features of the thermal cooker and the meal preparation efficiency. When shopping for a thermocooker, stick to top-rated brands and units with many positive reviews from actual users. The best manufacturers also provide lengthy warranties and allow you to return faulty units for replacement.